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A network of support is out there for those with Down Syndrome

Published: Nov. 3, 2020 at 7:49 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It didn’t take long for Donna Davidson’s son, Alex, who was born with Down Syndrome to let his personality shine through. During a zoom interview, Alex, whose communication is limited, gave two thumbs up when asked how he was doing. Now, 36-years old, Alex’s mom, Donna said when her son was born, Down Syndrome was just becoming accepted.

“It was a bit of a shock. You always think you’re not going to have a child with any problems,” Davidson said.

She said there was always support from the beginning, just no parent support group.

“At times it seemed tough and there were times when I thought it wasn’t something I really wanted to deal with. Not the Down Syndrome, it was really more the things that I didn’t have a good handle on like his medical issues for one and a little bit behavior also,” Davidson explained.

So, what started as a small parent support group of 4 in 1986, eventually turned into what is now the Alaska Down Syndrome Network.

Davidson was not only one of the organizers, but she was president for 13 years.

“You just see that other parents understand and there’s no judgment and they really know what you are going through,” she said.

For some families, reaching out, in the beginning, isn’t always easy, but when they are ready, the support is there.

“Takes families anywhere from a few weeks to several years before they are ready to connect with other families,” Davidson said.

She said the support made a big difference, but it’s her son Alex that’s truly made her who she is today.

“He has made me so much more patient, so much more understanding and there’s a joy that’s just very difficult to explain,” Davidson said.

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